In her "Adoption Chronicles" ESSENCE.com blogger Tamara Foster shares her journey to becoming a foster parent. Stories of children (and babies) being sexually abused and contracting STD's were enough to make her realize she was doing something greater than herself. "I feel further convicted to adopt a child through foster care as opposed to private adoption," she writes. "I want to help, save and rescue these children from an abusive life. I want to give them hope, promise and opportunities to be whatever they want to be..." For more "Adoption Chronicles" with Tamara Foster, click here.
I'm bourgeois. I know it. I don't like to admit that I think I am better than other people but the truth is that I often feel this way. My bougieness kicked in heavy during my Foster Care Orientation last week. I sat in a room with six women waiting for the session to begin. My first impression is that these women were ghetto. They did not look like me and did not look like the crowd that normally attends the private adoption agency meetings I've been to. I honestly thought that I was accidentally grouped with abusive parents waiting to see their children. I was wrong. I started speaking with a toothless woman and realized that these women were just like me and they were here to learn how to become a foster parent. She discloses that she is on welfare and that her daughter has 5 foster children and she wants "four or five for my damn self!" Who knew that you could foster children on welfare?! These people are going to love me! Lord please forgive me for judging and thinking that I am superior to others. Help remind me that we are all your children and that I should love all of my brothers and sisters as Jesus did. Refer to Matthew 7:1-5. The orientation leader arrives and reads down a checklist of what we need to know. I'm disturbed because she is mispronouncing every tenth word. "Some of the children have medical issues such as bi-polardED, schizPophrenia and mental problems...If we suPpect drug use when we pick up the child they are given a toxTiTology test...You will be asked to provide 3 reSerrals on the application." Repeat prayer above. The orientation leader continues and discusses the process for why and how children are removed from their home. The topics range from children that are sexually abused and contract venereal diseases from their abusers to babies that are physically abused within days of being born. Now I feel further convicted to adopt a child through foster care as opposed to private adoption. I want to help, save and rescue these children from an abusive life. I want to give them hope, promise and opportunities to be whatever they want to be. This was made possible for me in my life because I was fortunate and blessed to have the parents that I did. I was loved, educated and supported every day of my life. I want to provide the same model for another child. And it's important that I do this for a Black child. I've researched this topic heavily for the past 3 months. I've attended 5 orientations for various types of agencies. I've contemplated between international and domestic, foster care and private adoption, infants and young children. Today I know with certainty that I want to adopt an infant through foster care. I still have concerns about this system but my faith in God assures me that I should not be afraid, that He will guide me as I move forward and ultimately answer mine and my baby's prayers. The journey may not be easy but it will be worthwhile and purposeful. By the end of the meeting I formalize and submit my application to become a foster parent.